Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth. - II Timothy 2:15

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Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Friday and Saturday I attended the Set Apart women's conference in St. Paul, Minnesota with several friends.
One of the keynotes was a woman I used to go on and on about before other things phased out her message and it sort of joined the clutter in the back of my brain of the ghosts of things I'm saving to "think about later". The later that never seems to come.

At any rate, it was Ann Voskamp. {Here's the link to her website in case anything here makes you interested enough to visit}

She spoke of fear and trust and the key to complete rest in the hands of Christ. I'd read her book One Thousand Gifts and I knew the gist of what she was saying. Somewhere inside I knew them.  As Dom Cobb says in Inception {if I've got any fellow Inception-ers with me :)} "She had locked something away, something deep inside her. The truth that she'd always known but chose to forget". I don't know about anyone else, but I almost shivered {or maybe I did} when I heard it. I'm not a person who tries to find spiritual truths in secular movies, but that line is incredibly true in the aspects of how I, as a Christian, live my life. There are so many truths I've chosen to lock away because they mess with the reality and comfort I want to live in.

Of course, it's not always locking away, though. Sometimes it's just plain forgetting.

After reading One Thousand Gifts I was gung-ho on starting my gratitude journal and totting up my thousand gifts. I was sold out on the idea of eucharisteo and giddy with excitement those first few days as I walked through life, whispering thanks for every rock, tree and jolly bush.

And then the bloom wore off and slowly I forgot to jot down the thanks. My journal sat at my desk, lines blank or half-heartedly filled. Eventually I tore out the pages I had filled, bundled them up into the attic and forgot about them.

Counting gifts just "wasn't for me".

At least, not the way I was counting them.

As I sat in the auditorium on Friday and listened to Ann speak, I felt the familiar conviction that I had lost. Locked away. Chosen to forget.

I needed to start counting gifts again.

One thing she said stuck with me very clearly. Two things actually.

"You can't be thanking God and living in fear at the same time" & "Satan hates the use of a pen. He doesn't want you to pick up a pen and write down the words that respond to The Word" {Note: these are not exact quotes; I was writing like a mad thing and probably messed up a few words}. Writer that I am, I was especially intrigued by the fact that Satan hates the use of my pen and doesn't want me to pick it up and write. Especially writing thanks. He'll do anything to stop me. So writing down thanks is essentially an act of victory over the devil.

Well, I thought to myself, I'm always up for that.

Somewhere in the midst of those quotes I decided once and for all that I was going to use my pen to defeat the enemy.

The thought of another gratitude journal gathering dust on my desk was not attractive {to say the least}. Nor was the concept of scattering pads around the house - and looking for them every time I needed one because someone else in the house had walked off with it. I needed something tailored for me.

Being a rather non-conventional person, I settled on a eucharisteo {Greek: to be grateful, to feel thankful} box.

The idea behind it is solely suited to my tastes. I'm a writer, so I'm constantly jotting down bits and pieces of dialogue, description, observation or whatever it is that comes to my mind that I don't want to forget. I have a padfolio in my purse that I bought especially for writing down these passing thoughts. Do I use it? No. When an idea strikes, I grab for the nearest pen and scrap of paper. {The padfolio is now enlisted for sermon notes} I have post-its and index cards and little scraps of torn-off paper all over the place, scrawled over with the fleeting brainwaves I almost lost.

Thus the eucharisteo box.

When I have a love-gift to thank God for I can grab for the nearest bit of paper {I've planted pads of post-its and pens in convenient locations}, scribble out my thanks and toss it into the box.

This changes the face of the gratitude-journal-One-Thousand-Gifts thing, of course. I'm not keeping track of how many I have {I'm not competitive, so this is no great loss. When I had my gratitude journal it became more of a game than anything else} and I'm not being overly idealistic about it either. I know that it will take a while to become habit, so any slip that goes into the box right now is one thing I'm thanking God for that I probably wouldn't have a week ago. The mere incentive of tossing the paper into the box makes it all the more exciting. I'm a piggy bank kind of girl. I love putting things through slots and watching them fill up. :)

For those of you who use gratitude journals to record your gifts, I stand in awe. You are stronger women than I am.

For those of you who, like me, are finding the journal idea hard to work with, there's always a box!

Until next time {may you be blessed with more gifts than you have ink to record}!



  1. Not stronger, dear friend, just different! I am so proud of you for finding a way to make this work for YOU. May God grant you joy as you give Him thanks in everything!

  2. That is SUCH a neat idea. Now I want a eucharisteo box. :)

  3. What a great idea! Thanks for sharing!